The mission of Student/Partner Alliance (S/PA) is to support motivated high school students at private high schools in New Jersey’s urban areas of Essex, Hudson and Union counties with tuition assistance and mentoring to increase their chances for college admission and scholarships, and ultimately to lead successful and productive lives.
In the late 1980s, Tom Cash informally started what would become called Student/Partner Alliance by providing ten students in Jersey City with tuition assistance at St. Mary’s High School. Tom recognized that students attending top quality, college preparatory high schools in their neighborhoods were more prepared to qualify for college admission and scholarships. Tom’s friends and business partners learned of his contributions and became interested in supporting tuition and mentoring students. Student/Partner Alliance was formally incorporated in 1993 and, since that time, has provided scholarship and mentoring support to more than 2,000 students from low-income areas.
S/PA is a nonprofit 501 ( c ) (3) charity unique among scholarship organizations in Northern New Jersey because we provide both scholarship and mentoring support. This combination is key to S/PA’s 100% high school graduation and college enrollment rate for our students over the past five academic years. Mentors motivate students to succeed not only in academics, but also personally by encouraging them to reach for higher goals and achieve their potential.
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90% of S/PA students come from homes with family incomes of less than $35,000 annually and 70% come from single-parent homes. To receive support from S/PA, students undergo a rigorous application process including a review of academic performance, teacher recommendations, financial information, and an in-person interview.
Accepted S/PA students are paired with a partner or sponsor and mentor who commit to providing that student with tuition and mentoring support for four years. A partner provides both tuition assistance and mentorship while a mentor provides only mentoring support; and a sponsor provides only financial support. Corporations and foundations often serve as sponsors for one or more students. Partners and sponsors contribute $1,500 – $2,000 annually for four years towards a student’s tuition.
S/PA organizes specific opportunities for students, partners, and mentors to meet throughout the year, encouraging the development of a student/partner mentoring relationship. Events include breakfasts and lunches at our affiliated schools, an annual Mentor Training program, a holiday party, and community service days.
Corporate & Foundation Sponsors
The Achelis & Bodman Foundation
American Express Foundation
Boffa & Company
The Della Rosa Family Foundation
Robert and Joan Dircks Foundation
Mary A. & Thomas F. Grasselli Endowment Foundation
E.J. Grassmann Trust
Hyde & Watson Foundation
Investors Bank and Foundation
Legacy Care Wealth, LLC
Liberal Finance Services
Link Family Foundation
Edmond & Virginia Moriarty Foundation
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Rotary Club of Summit/New Providence
Fred C. Rummel Foundation
William E. Simon Foundation
Sobel & Co., LLC
Mary Reinhart Stackhouse Foundation
The Summit Foundation
Sweetie Pig Foundation
Ann Earle Talcott Fund
George A. Ohl, Jr Trust of Wells Fargo
Withum Smith & Brown, PC
From the Board
“S/PA has been a wonderful platform in my life to allow me to give back in a meaningful way to high school students in local urban areas.”
“Through Student/Partner Alliance’s magical combination of financial scholarships and mentoring, good students do better and those who would not have made it through the public schools graduate and go on to college and successful lives.”
From the Staff:
“I was originally drawn to S/PA because it is a model that works! With the combination of mentoring and tuition assistance, S/PA is not a hand-out; but a hand-up, and a help through difficult times or situations.”
“I believe that education is the pathway to success and I’m proud that we are helping students locally in New Jersey.”
“I believe that all children of all colors, national origins and religions have the right to an excellent education.”